Preview: Arsenal vs Middlesbrough- Can The Gunners Mantain Their Unbeaten Run?
- Updated: October 21, 2016
Arsenal take on Middlesbrough this weekend in a fixture that could see the Gunners go top should things go their way. The North London outfit will be brimming with confidence after whipping six past Bulgarian side Ludogorets Razgard in their Champions league clash during the midweek.
The headline for the day being Mesut Ozil who grabbed his first ever career hat-trick and became only the 9th Arsenal player to score an European hat-trick.The result meant Arsenal were now unbeaten in their last 10 matches in all competitions. One would have to go far back as 2012 before achieved such a feat.
It’s without a doubt that Arsenal are now one of the top sides in Europe(based on form) and putting that into context, the clash against Middlesbrough should be another 3 points in the bag for Arsene Wenger’s men. Although, we know the Premier League has its way of bringing the best upsets and Middlesbrough are well equipped to do so.
Just as Arsenal were lucky to get away with a narrow 3-2 win against Swansea City, a fixture which saw new boy Granit Xhaka get sent off in the second half for a rough tackle from behind.
One of the strong points of Arsenal’s current campaign has been their wealth in squad depth. It’s hard to realize Arsenal have been without key players Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck, Per Mertesacker and Francis Coquelin who just returned in their Champions League game in midweek.
The meteoric rise of Alex Iwobi and a revitalized Walcott seem to be making Arsenal a different side. The loan of Jack Wilshere to Bournemouth finally says it all about Arsenal’s depth in squad at the moment.
No matter how we look at it, the match against Middlesbrough is a very important one and could go a long way in deciding Arsenal’s campaign. Arsenal lie in second place, level on points with Manchester City who look to have been struggling lately and only a point ahead of 3rd placed and unbeaten rivals Tottenham. A slip against Boro could prove costly and Wenger will definitely not want this from his side.
It’s good to see that the fans are also enjoying the atmosphere at the emirates right now and it would be nice to see it remain that way for a long time.
Players to watch out for
Walcott looks like a different player this season and has been an important figure in Arsenal’s squad. He has scored 6 in his last 4 games which is better than his previous 24 games for Arsenal. His season’s tally for Arsenal currently sits at 8 in all competitions and it would be a safe decision to place a bet on Walcott getting a goal this weekend.
Alexis Sanchez Sanchez is no doubt one of Arsenal’s best players but his new found-striker role seems to be doing him and Arsenal a lot of good. Alexis has now been involved in 9 of Arsenal’s last 15 goals and his season’s tally currently stands at 7 goals in all competitons.
Let’s take a look at probable line-ups for tomorrow:
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Elneny, Walcott, Ozil, Iwobi, Alexis
Middlesbrough (4-2-3-1): Valdes, Barragan, Ayala, Gibson, Friend, De Roon, Forshaw, Stuani, Ramirez, Downing ,Negredo
Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Middlesbrough
Arsenal will have to start the game quick and be wary of Middlesbrough’s counter attacking threat. The Boro defence will definitely be hard to crack but Arsenal sure have more than enough firepower to get past them.